Stalker Smith strikes again.
Sainsbury’s. Today. About 3pm.
I whip out a Bag For Life and PAM! Open the bad boy up.
“Hello!” I boom.
“Hi… Are you Ok packing?”
“Yep, should be fine thanks! Got my recycled bags” and I shook them. Just to make sure she saw them. Making sure she knew I was a staunch warrior for the environment! And that she would remember to give me my green loyalty card points.
And she began to scan my items. Without talking. A silence interrupted only by the repetitive
of food items being ran along that thing in the clear box in the conveyor belt with a massive Terminator bright red eye beaming out of it.
A good 10 seconds of vocal blackout…
The skin around my fingers sort of began to tighten my hand into a claw, and I started to breath ever so slightly faster. You see, I can’t stand silence. Not when there is the opportunity for polite chit chat to be had! You never know, said my Aunt once, you may be the only one that speaks to that person that day. And those wise words have haunted me forever since, a big lead weight of responsibility heavy on my conscience, my burden to carry on forever and ever.
Well, that and a constant need to have people love me and find me charming and endearing. And to want to be my best friend and like me best of all. In this case, better than the customer before me, and better than the customer after me. And so I began my mission to make her love me, by showering her with attention. And questions.
Me; “So… did you have a good Christmas?”
Her; “Yes thanks. You?”
Me; “Yes thanks….” 1 second of silence, 2 seconds, 3 seconds, 4 seconds and…”Did you get up to much?”
Her; “Oh, er” 1 second of silence, 2 seconds of silence “We just had a quiet one.”
Me; “Ah yes! “We“! I remember you told me you had a daughter! She’s 10 isn’t she? Or is she 11 now?”
The beeping stops. I look up from loading my bag for life to see a pair of bulging eyes staring at me. A bit concerned. Perhaps a dash of horrified. Wait, is she reaching for a panic button?
“Oh. Have I served you before?”
“Erm” the cold sweat forming under my arm pits and the flush of blush flooding over my cheeks suggests to my pea brain that I may have over stepped the line from “interested customer with fabulous manners and an excellent memory” to STALKER.
It also registered a dash of hurt that she didn’t rememeber me.
“Yes, you did, it was a while ago now though…”
“Oh right” and her hand comes back up from under the checkout, gripping extra carrier bags. Not reaching for the panic button then. And the beeping starts again.
This would have been a perfect opportunity to finish loading up my shopping, be quiet, slink off into the crowd of cross, pushy shoppers and always avoid that checkout lady from now on until the day I die.
But I can’t stop myself… That awkward moment whereby I delivered a major part of her biography to her (not all of it…oh I remembered a lot more, but figured her frightened little face meant I should stop offering such information) meant I now needed to prove I was NORMAL and not a STALKING FREAK. And so…
Me; “Rubbish weather isn’t it?”
Her; “Yes, terrible.”
Me; “Wasn’t nice over Christmas was it either?”
Her; “No but we weren’t up here.”
Her; “No” and then as the words “We went down South to see family” slipped out her mouth, I could see she instantly regretted it.
Ah. Oh dear. She has accidently had a slip of the tongue and offered some additional information about herself by making a leading statement. Poor thing. She has basically opened her flood defences and let in the tidal wave that is me and my chat.
Me; “Down South? How lovely! Where abouts? It’s lovely on the South Coast! I grew up on the Isle of Wight!”
Me; “Ooooh lovely! I LOVE Dorset! We spend a lot of time there! How funny! What a coincidence! (it isn’t really, is it? The South coast is a pretty big place) “Where abouts?”
Her; “Er, Lulworth”
Me; “Oh I LOVE Lulworth! I’d love to live there, it’s on my fantasy list! (Shocker. I have a fantasy life). Does your mum actually live in the seaside bit? LUCKY! Did you grow up there?” (Why can’t I stop?)
Her; “No, erm, she is just renting as she has had to be out of her house for a few weeks”
Me; “Oh I see! Still near lovely Lulworth? Or far away?” (it’s like a verbal rollercoaster I have no control over)
Her; “No…Durdle Door”
Me; “Oh I LOVE Durdle Door! How marvellous! Where abouts?” (what’s wrong with me?)
Her; “Erm, the caravan park actually”
Me; “Oh I KNOW the one! The one on the approach to Durdle Door, the one you have to drive through to get to the big grassy carpark that overlooks the sea? The one with the sweet little old fashioned shop that looks like it was decorated in the 1950’s and hasn’t changed since? (how rude of me). The one with those funny little yurt thingy’s? It has to shut down every now and then doesn’t it? Caravan park rules and all that! You have to be out for a few weeks a year and – ”
She hands me my receipt and smiles.
“Have a lovely new year”. Code for “please leave now”